Women's Basketball

NCAA Women's Tournament - Vermont Quotes

March 20, 2010

2010 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship
First and Second Rounds
Purcell Pavilion | Notre Dame, Ind.
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vermont Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Sharon Dawley

On her overall feelings of the team...
"We are just very excited to return to the NCAA tournament. We had a wonderful experience last year. I was very proud of girls being the 16th seed and matched up against UConn was daunting, but we did our best and played very, very hard. We never gave and just showed a lot of character, and that was what a lot of our conversations were about-to make the university proud and show character. So now we have the opportunity to build on that. We've built our character so that we are a little stronger and deeper this year. Let's now show everyone that we have character, and we can play basketball."

On the keys to winning tomorrow's game...
"I would say rebounding would be a big key for us. Winning the tempo war. I think one program is going to want to slow it down and one is going to want to speed it up, so it's going to be a huge tempo war. Thirdly, we just have to execute our steps. We have been getting better and better at that, so those are our three tasks for tomorrow."

On how to keep the team loose...
"While we're getting our work done we are still trying to keep it fun. While it's not that we're not serious, we try to keep it light and fun. We are reminding our girls that we have been preparing for this for a long time. We went to N.C. State for this reason, so that we would get started at the beginning of the year and not the end. We went to Boston College and last year with Louisville and Florida. We try to build an experience and a base so that when we step out that afternoon, we'll be star struck, but not as much if we didn't build the resume we have built."

On the Wisconsin squad...
"I would say very solid. They're a very solid team that plays great defense, very smart, works well together, and plays very well as a unit on offense. They are all skilled. Sometimes you're scouting a team that is good and athletic, but not quite skilled. They're very intelligent, very composed with their two guards that showed they could score during the Ohio State game. I love the way the post can pass out of the post and sharing the basketball shows why they are here. They are a very good team."



On what winning the game would mean to the program...
"It would mean everything to the program, really. My first key would be to win the game for the seniors. We don't want it to be over. This class has done so much for our school, for our program, to extend it even if it's just one more day would be an incredible thing to do. It would mean a lot, as May said, to the program to have an NCAA win. It's huge being here, but at some point being is not as satisfying as it used to be. We really want that first win, and our young players that have gained so much experience here that it would help with momentum for a great off season in terms of getting better, stronger, and staying in shape. Last but not least, we want to bring as much notoriety as possible to the University of Vermont."

On the senior class and its accomplishments through four years at Vermont...
"We were very excited about this class. You think Courtnay and May are both remarkable. Courntay came in as a phenomenal offensive player and is leaving as on the all-defensive team as a tribute to her work ethic. May came in as a tremendous defensive player and led the conference in scoring for most of the year. So that just tells you a little about them and where their priorities are. Sophia is a great player that had not been on the big stage yet, and she has had a phenomenal year. Elizabeth came in good and is leaving as one of the top two or three post players in our conference, and where she has come, athletically, is remarkable."

Concerns about speeding up the game with Wisconsin...
"What I have to worry about is what makes Vermont good, and we're very good when we're playing an up-tempo game, and we're just solid when we're playing in the half court. So I'm worried about doing things for Vermont first and that is speeding up the game."

May Kotsopoulos | Senior | Guard

On what she learned from last year's NCAA Tournament...
"Coming off of the experience from last year has definitely helped get those first-time jitters out of the way. Going to the big stage at the tournament is a big deal, and going last year definitely put us through that experience. It was a little different last year being faced against UConn, who is such an unbelievable program and team, so it has helped us this year to learn that experience and bring it back to teach our freshmen. This year we are coming to this game with a very different mindset, we are looking to more of a very winnable match-up for us, whereas last year it was let's have a good experience, let's have a good time."

On the development of the Vermont program...
"I think our coaching staff has done a great job of bringing in the players that we need to fit certain roles and compliment the top players. For our program to be as successful as possible, they brought in players with the mindset of winning. I think that this has really helped us grow as a program, and it is good to have players that are used to winning and have that mindset of winning in order to be successful."

On teaching the young players to handle the pressure...
"I think with our program, since we've done this once before, we try and emphasize fun, and we'll try and do that a lot more tomorrow. People that don't know us don't know that we like to dance a lot in the locker room, on the bus, during our warm-ups, you know have a good time, joke around. People that see that may think that we're not serious, but that's how we play our best, when we have fun. I think tomorrow will be a bigger deal for us to have a good time and just relax. For a lot of our players this is a dream come true, and tomorrow we will try and enjoy ourselves as much as possible."

On the defensive approach against Wisconsin...
"It is going to be a difficult task with me, as Wisconsin has very strong two guards that will be a major focus for me as well as many other players. I think that the Wisconsin program likes to switch things up, mixing the two-man zones, full court presses, so the change up will be very important to us. I know that they say defense wins games, and I know for my personal success that I always do better when I hold up on defense, and it will be my major focus tomorrow."

Courtnay Pilypaitis | Senior | Guard

On how to attack the Wisconsin defense...
"Just keep attacking and forcing other defenders to commit to you after you beat the first defender. We have really great shooters and post players, so once that happens, dish out to them, and let them score. We have five great players at the start of the game that can all score and also off the bench that can step up and do that. So we will really just try to attack and hopefully hit just hits and other than that, be aggressive."

On the development of the Vermont program...
"Coming in as freshman, it was a team that was really talented, but struggled through a lot of injuries. They did not have a great year, but the talent was there. The four of us coming in, as freshmen, knew there was something special there. I think we just worked hard and coming back for our second NCAA Tournament shows how our hard work and dedication throughout all of our team has been shown. It has been an unbelievable four years for me, and coming in we did not expect it."

On teaching the younger players how to approach the NCAA Tournament atmosphere...
"I think you're always going to have that starry-eyed start of the game, but just getting them in a position to get an easy lay-up is going to work wonders, so that from there it is just basketball. Once they get the first jitter off they're good to go, and I think again, that we just want to have fun and enjoy it. As long as we keep smiles on all our faces, then we'll be good to go."

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